Today, both the Washington Post and the New York Times led with stories about the dated aspect of the surveillance by al Qaeda that formed the basis of Tom Ridge's dire warnings on Sunday about attacks targetting financial-sector buildings. The material gotten from a Qaeda captive in Pakistan turns out mostly to be from before 9/11. Moreover, some of it is from public-access sources such as the Internet.
Tom Ridge didn't tell us about these diminishing factors, and he should have. I live in a hurricane-prone area and understand the importance of full and correct information about impending threats. Each hurricane season, I want to weigh the probabilities of a strike against the percentages that it won't happen. If Ridge's scary warnings aren't done just to benefit the Bush-Cheney campaign -- as many believe -- he should tell us that there is information that indicates a danger, but also here is what is possibly wrong with the information. That way we can assess the danger ourselves based on correct information.